President of The Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has expressed confidence that the bill seeking to give legal backing to the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR) will strengthen the tourism sector in Nigeria.

He made this known on Thursday, 15th June, 2017 at a one-day Public Hearing on a bill for an act to provide for the establishment of NIHOTOUR, organised by the Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism at the National Assembly Complex in Abuja, the Federal capital Territory.

Represented by the Senate Minority Whip, Senator Philip Aduda, Dr. Saraki said the bill shall set standards for training in the field of hospitality and tourism, so as to make practitioners in the industry sufficiently equipped to cope with the dynamics of the sector.

His words: “We can create a legal framework to institutionalize the institution or personnel who can bring new initiatives to drive tourism and make it a huge foreign exchange earner for the country.

Condemning the notion by some Nigerians that tourism is just about landmarks and historical sites, Saraki, who said there is more to it than that, attributed the impression to the non-inclusion of tourism, as a key subject in our schools, right from the elementary stages; hence, many grow up with little or no knowledge about tourism.

He further maintained that Nigeria must do everything possible to promote tourism in the country by first incorporating it to be taught in basic and elementary schools in the country.

On his part, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, said the bill is aimed at putting in place, a legal and institutional framework to train manpower in the hospitality and tourism practices.

To him, the bill seeking to give NIHOTOUR a legal backing for its operations will provide improved quality services of specialized training as well as diploma and postgraduate diploma courses in Tourism and Hospitality Management in Nigeria.

Senators present at the Public Hearing were Senators Abubakar Umaru, Rose Okoh, Fatimah Rasaki, David Umaru and Samuel Anyanwu; while other dignitaries were the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who was represented by Dr. Paul Adalikwu; Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Segun Runsewe; and Director-General, Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC), Dr. Ferdinand Anikwe, among others.

The Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Assoc. Prof. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, who was unavoidably absent was represented by Directors in the Institute, namely, Alhaji Ibrahim Husseini (Admin & Human Resources); Mr. Mike Ekoko (Research & Documentation); Barrister Musa Kakamba (Legal), and Mr. Law Ezeh (SA-ES).

Caleb Nor

Media Assistant-ES

NICO HQ, Abuja